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Tag: Colobane Market

Fally Sene Sow : a Unique View of Dakar’s Busiest Market

Fally Sene Sow
Fally Sene Sow

Artist Fally Sene Sow takes us soaring high above the city streets to give us a bird’s eye view of the action in Colobane, one of Dakar’s most popular markets. With his use of urban motifs and assortment of found objects, Sow’s intricate multimedia collages provide a modern take on the ancient Senegalese art of Sous-verre (‘under glass’ painting).

Mbaaru colobane
Mbaaru Colobane

Colobane – where Sow grew up and still lives – has become the city’s biggest flea market for clothing, books, electronics and a plethora of other new and second-hand items. The tonnes of used clothes from the West that find their way to Colobane each year have created a sector which employs over 24,000 people who work in the sorting, washing, repairing, trading and distribution of second hand garments and accessories.

Colobane Fëgg Jay Balba
Louma Colobane
Louma Colobane

There is a popular saying that “You can find anything in the world at Colobane Market” and just like the real market, anything and everything can be found in Sow’s collages: cut outs from photos and magazines, tin foil, pieces of string, scraps of fabric, chewing gum wrappers, and even tufts of sheep’s hair.

Tabaski Dakar 2015
Tabaski Dakar 2015

The elevated perspective takes us away from the traffic, smog and noise and shows us a beautiful, multi-coloured patchwork created by the market stall awnings and glittering zinc roofs. But everything looks fragile and delicate, reminding us of the physical frailty and impermanence of these ‘shops’ and the precarious livelihoods of the stall-holders themselves.

Nawétu colobane 2015
Nawétu Colobane 2015

Colobane, as with many other informal African markets, doesn’t have a legal basis for its existence; it could be forced to dismantle, move or close down at a moment’s notice. Sow’s portrayals of market life are not only visually striking but serve as documentation of an area, a community, and a way of life that although seemingly very rooted is, in reality, anything but.

 

If you’re in Senegal and interested in purchasing Sow’s work, email him at fally2009@live.fr

If you live in Europe contact Gallery 23 for information: galerie23@sbk.nl 

Watch a short video of Fally talking about his work here (in French).

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Marvellous Market Finds

Dakar has a thriving market scene; you can find arts and crafts, antiques, textiles, food and much more from all over Africa. It’s particularly well known as a mecca for textiles, with a huge variety to choose from.

There are markets that specialise (such as HLM for fabrics, Soumbedioune for crafts, Cour des Orfèvres for jewellery) and markets that sell everything (Sandaga, Colobane). Year round markets, and seasonal markets such as the DWG Christmas Fair and La Braderie at Place du Souvenir.

Recently we have had two very welcome additions on the market scene, Lou Bess?  a monthly farmers market, and Keur Marie Ganaar in Mermoz. Look out for more on both in a future post.

This year as a Christmas present, I thought I’d put together a ‘goodie bag’ of some of my recent finds.

Wax print bags from the DWG Christmas fair
Wax print bags from the DWG Christmas fair

Here’s what’s inside:

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Wax print earrings from the craft market at Marche Kermel
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Handmade soaps from Senegalese natural cosmetics company Chouette Mama (in karité, Bissap and Argile flavours). You can find their stock at Layu.

My best find were these small leather coin purses from one of the stalls by the Monument de la Renaissance. (Cheikh’s stall to be precise, in the middle with the orange tarpaulin over it).

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And not exactly a market find, but I thought this tropical jam gift set from local company Zena were great.

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The flavours are unusual (Baobab, Tamarind, Cashew etc.) and the jams are sample sized, so your lucky recipient gets to try all the flavours. They also do a range of chillies and savoury sauces, and are available in most supermarkets in Dakar.

The completed 'goodie' bag
The completed ‘goodie’ bag

Other ideas of what you could include: wax fabric, peanuts/cashew nuts, and dried Bissap flowers for making tea.

What would be your must haves for a Dakar Christmas goodie bag?

Lou Bess? takes place this Saturday  5th December from 9-15h along the Corniche des Almadies. La Braderie is on Saturday and Sunday  5th and 6th  December from 10-19h at Place du Souvenir.

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